New Era Detroit activists interrupted a church service at Great Faith Ministries on Sept. 24 to protest the poverty of the church's members compared to the rich lifestyle of Bishop Wayne T. Jackson (video below).
"The situation is bigger than just Wayne T. Jackson," the leader of New Era Detroit, Zeek, told WJBK. "This is about black churches and black pastors who live a lavish life on behalf of the people and they are not giving back to their community."
Jackson, who has hosted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, reportedly drives a Rolls Royce and lives in a mansion while many in his congregation are living in poverty.
Zeek also told the news station:
They started the offering at a $1,000. And then they said if you don't have $1,000 then do $300. And If you don't got cash, then we got ATM machines. I don't understand that logic. I don't understand that way of thinking and I don't understand that, to be what religion is...
This guy has networks, churches, fancy cars, you know what I mean, million-dollar houses. And there's babies in this community that's going without food at night. Somebody has to be frustrated about this enough to do something that will get people's attention, and that's what New Era Detroit did.
Bishop Keith Farmer of Great Faith Ministries countered: "Here's the thing, pick up the phone, call, I want to talk to you, apostle. Apostle is a very fair man, he would meet with you and talk to you. What's your issue? But to do it that way, that is so disrespectful."
Pastor Brent added: "Our bishop has given away homes, cars."
Juanita Kinney said that Jackson helped her financially: "When he found out I didn't have anywhere to live, within an hour he was calling me back and telling me to go look at an apartment. And because of that, and because of the love from him and his wife, I now have my own place."
"He should talk to people that he has hired, ex-cons, people that been in prison," Farmer told the news station. "He has done so much for this community. There are homes that he has bought and gave to people. But Zeek doesn't know that."
Some church members compared the New Era Detroit protesters to mass shooter Dylan Roof, who killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
"They can't come in here and think they're going to take over our service, have our women and children, mothers up in here terrified," Brent added. "And they talking [like] they're out there protecting the community, this is a community up in here."
WJBK asked Zeek if New Era Detroit would do the protest again, and he replied:
Absolutely. We would definitely do it all over again. Would we tweak something? Absolutely. We would probably tweak up a few things, and change it. But going back, no, we would definitely go in there again, and they better get their act together because we just might be back.
Zeek said that he would be willing to speak to Jackson and the pastors of other churches that New Era Detroit has protested.
Jackson states on the church website:
My wife and I have lived a lifestyle of integrity, prayer and consecration to equip God’s people with the tools to live beyond the ordinary. At Impact there is a better way to live, to serve and grow in Christ. From our empowering Christian Education Department equipping saints to walk in the supernatural power of God, to the transference of love and peace you feel as you come through the doors.
The New Era Detroit website says:
Our focus is empowering and encouraging Black residents in the city of Detroit and around the world to buy, build, invest & get involved in the communities that they live in. The city of Detroit has a population of under 700,000 residents, 82.7% of which are Black yet our communities are overran by businesses that are not owned by the people living in these communities or in most cases business owners who are not even residents of the city of Detroit & contribute little to nothing to the neighborhoods in which their businesses thrive in.